Meet Charlotte Simpson, a retired guidance counselor from Indianapolis. To date, Charlotte has visited all 50 states and over 80 countries.


We had the chance to speak with her about the importance of still traveling, even after losing her husband of 31 years.


Photo courtesy of Charlotte


Travel Noire: What event led you to begin this new adventure of traveling the world more?

Charlotte: When I was early in my marriage, my husband said his goal was to see all 50 states. As someone with the wanderlust spirit, I thought this was a great goal for us to accomplish together. Not only did we travel to all 50, but also to Europe, the Caribbean, and Central America with our child in tow.


When he died, my daughter and I were trying to figure out how to handle our first Christmas without him. We decided, travel! We went to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. The following summer, I took my first solo trip.


I’ve always had wanderlust. However, when you have a mate who enjoys travel and it’s a huge part of your marriage, having to get accustomed to this new lifestyle is something that occasionally had me teary-eyed as I continued to strive to enjoy travel. My husband was my perfect travel partner for 31 years. Yet, I did not want my spirit of wanderlust to die when he died.


Photo courtesy of Charlotte


Travel Noire: What has been your most exciting destination thus far?

Charlotte: Egypt for Christmas was my favorite. My daughter and I toured for ten days, which was 3 weeks before their revolution in January 2011. The history, sights, culture, food, and animals were unlike any previous experiences. Many Egyptians thought my daughter and I were also Egyptian, which led to some interesting, often humorous conversations. Our guide once looked at a map and tried to explain how our ancestors might have traveled from Egypt to West Africa before being stolen and shipped to America. He insisted we were distant relatives.


India is most exciting though. It’s a constant multisensory assault.


Photo courtesy of Charlotte


Related: The Black Expat: I Gave Up Luxury To Live Abroad And Travel


Travel Noire: Where is a bucket list destination for you?

Charlotte: Israel remains on my bucket list. I want to go with a group of like-minded, Christian people seeking an experience, not just another passport stamp. I’ve considered Rev. Tony Evans’ trip this fall or other churches that go. Intuition has never given me the go ahead on those.


I have a list of places, but I always pray for the Holy Spirit to show me where to go.


Photo courtesy of Charlotte
Travel Noire: Do you typically travel alone now, or with friends?
Charlotte: I travel alone or occasionally with my daughter. I even take cruises alone, which means paying for the whole cabin. After my first solo cruise, there is no way I’m sharing a cabin with someone.
I met another solo traveler, whose husband no longer likes to travel, on my Cuba trip. We clicked, went to dinner together, and spent time exploring. She and I booked the same trip to Japan and she was also on the Kenya/Tanzania trip I took last month. We’re solo and have our own rooms, but we can hang out when we want.
Photo courtesy of Charlotte
Travel Noire: How does your age affect your travels?
Charlotte: It is absolutely an asset in international travel. Most of the non-European world is extremely respectful of their elders. Since I have an ethnic look that blends in so many places, I find young people often calling me “auntie,” “tia,” or “mamma” all over the world.
The greatest challenge that I face is the physical demands and risks. I play it safe. I’m not getting those exotic pictures petting a tiger, sitting on the edge of a cliff, etc.. At this age, you’ve seen too much stuff happen to end it all for an Instagram photo.
Photo courtesy of Charlotte
Travel Noire: What advice can you give to our audience members who may be wary of traveling alone.
Charlotte: My advice, do you. If you’d be miserable traveling solo, then don’t do it. If you have strong affiliation needs, then you likely would not revel in your solitude. If you really want to explore the world and can’t find anyone to go but want to try going alone, go with an organized group tour. There may even be another solo traveler. More and more women are trying it.
Start with a very safe place, so you can feel comfortable going out alone. Or, try a solo getaway to a U.S. destination you’ve always wanted to see. Evaluate your feelings and enjoyment, then take the next step.
Photo courtesy of Charlotte
Travel Noire: Where can we find you on social media?
Charlotte: I’m on Instagram: @travelingblackwidow.